Partnership Model for Diffusion of Proven Prevention (Second Competing Continuation)

The purpose of this research is to examine long-term effects of an innovative partnership-based intervention delivery model called PROSPER (PROmoting School/community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience). It extends a randomized controlled study (now in its second continuation period) of the PROSPER model, which began in 2001 with two sequential cohorts of youth and families from rural communities. Fourteen school districts in IA and PA (N = 28), ranging in size from approximately 1,300 to 5,200 students, were selected and randomly assigned to either the PROSPER partnership condition or to a usual programming control condition.

This focus of this project is to examine reductions in emerging adult substance misuse, antisocial behaviors and health-risking sexual behaviors, along with associated healthy adult functioning, among project participants who received evidence-based interventions (EBIs) during middle school. Local teams in the PROSPER partnership sites selected and implemented family-focused and school-based EBIs for middle school students. The evaluation of intervention outcomes began with approximately 12,000 students (90% of those eligible) in the two cohorts who participated in a 6th grade pretest assessment; follow-up assessments with the students in these cohorts were conducted each spring, through the 12th grade. Following 12th grade, 2,000 randomly selected students from that sample were recruited for continued follow-up assessments. This study extends those follow-ups to ages 22 and 24, in order to examine the intervention effects through emerging adulthood.

The two aims of the project are:

  1. Evaluate long-term outcomes of the PROSPER partnership-supported middle-school EBIs on emerging adult substance misuse, antisocial behaviors, and sexual risk behaviors for AIDS and other STDs, along with associated effects on other domains of adult functioning.

  2. To examine hypothesized mechanisms by which adolescent-stage intervention effects impact emerging adult outcomes in an understudied rural population. This work will be guided by an extension of the outcome model from our original project.

Positive results from the first two grant periods have established PROSPER's effectiveness, with evidence of:

  • Effective functioning of community teams
  • Strong participation in EBIs
  • Long-term, high quality EBI implementation
  • Sustainability of teams and EBIs
  • Increases in community social capital
  • Economic analyses indicating PROSPER efficiency.

Most importantly, results show strong EBI outcomes through middle and high school, with positive effects on:

  • Young adolescent competencies (e.g., peer refusal skills)
  • Parenting effectiveness and family functioning
  • Reductions in adolescent conduct problems
  • Reduced misuse of a wide range of substances, including prescription drugs, through the end of high school

Principal Investigator: Richard Spoth

Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse